This blog is like 90% music and 10% other. Today, we have some of the “other” — it’s NBA playoff predictions from Caleb Sarvis. Eastern Conference predictions happened earlier, and now it’s time for the Western Conference. Enjoy!
It’s my favorite time of the year! NBA Playoffs have arrived and begin Saturday night in one the more interesting line ups I’ve seen in the last couple of years. I’m here to bring my predictions and offer what I believe matters in each series. After all, the NBA playoffs is always about two things: 1) Who is the best player in the series? 2) Matchups. I’ll post this preview in two installments; one for the East, one for the West.
(1) San Antonio vs (8) Dallas
In the regular season the Spurs swept the Mavericks 4 games to none, but don’t count out Dirk and Monta just yet. The Spurs have become the first team since the NBA-ABA Merger to not have a single player average 30 minutes a game. I think we can agree that well-rested is an understatement. The veteran leadership of Dirk, VC, and Marion have made the critics (including myself) of Monta Ellis look like fools. He found a place to thrive in… but only for a game or two. Coach Pop and the resilient Spurs may not sweep the Mavs, but they’ll dispose of them easily.
PREDICTION: San Antonio in 5.
(2) Oklahoma City vs (7) Memphis
Kendrick Perkins is the most irritating player in this series. He’s slow on rotations and I don’t think I’ve seen him jump this entire season. Fortunately for the Thunder, they have Kevin Durant. The Grizzlies are going to be able to pound the ball low with Gasol and Z-Bo. I love Ibaka, but shot blocking ability isn’t going to be enough to stop Randolph in the post. Look for the Thunder to double down low and force the Grizzlies to shoot from the perimeter. Also, keep an eye on the Conley-Westbrook matchup. Conley might be the most underrated point guard in the league. He’s definitely top 5 this season and will bother Westbrook with his peskiness, forcing Westbrook to take contested jumpers. But in the end, KD is KD.
PREDICTION: Thunder in 6.
(3) Los Angeles vs (6) Golden State
Most interesting matchup by far… until Andrew Bogut broke his rib. These teams split the regular season with Golden State firing on all cylinders in their win. Bogut is a solid presence in the paint and presented a real challenge for Blake and DeAndre before breaking his rib. Now, the paint is wide open for Blake, who may be the best player in this series. His rebounding has gone down every year, but Blake has excellent ball handling for a power forward, his footwork in the post has only gotten better, and on top of all that, he can now shoot regularly from about 15 feet out. Steph Curry is going to light it up, and Klay Thompson is going to contribute, but on the defensive end, GSW is lacking. Unless GSW wants to switch Iguodala onto CP3, I don’t see how Chris Paul doesn’t have a field day with the Warriors’ guards. Then again, Steph Curry could drop 40-10 in the blink of an eye.
PREDICTION: Clippers in 7.
(4) Houston vs (5) Portland
This is going to be a lot of fun to watch. I love Damian Lillard. I love James Harden. I love LaMarcus Aldridge. I love Chandler Parsons. Heck, I can even dig a Dwight Howard – Robin Lopez battle down low. It’ll be like watching Jax from Mortal Kombat battling Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons. The reality is that Houston is built to win this series. James Harden is officially the best 2-guard in the league and rightly so. Dwight Howard is no longer the best center, but he still has the ability to throw down 30-20 on any given night. Also, don’t forget PATRICK BEVERLY. He destroyed Westbrook’s knee last year and could be after Damian Lillard this year. Never take your eyes off Patrick Beverly. EVER.
PREDICTION: Rockets in 5.
In case you missed it, we had the Eastern Conference preview earlier today. Check it out!